Gunleaders Blog

2nd. Amendment Interview With Ambassador John Bolton

by on May.18, 2011, under Uncategorized

(This post copied from our sister site,

Note: USRKBA interviewed former United Nation’s Ambassador John Bolton right after the November elections, last year, and before the ATF Project Gunwalker scandal. As of this writing, Ambassador Bolton remains undecided as to whether or not he’ll run for President.

We recently had a chance to talk with Ambassador Bolton again. That update follows this interview.

USRKBA: The Second Amendment was written more than 200 years ago, how do you view its relevance to the average citizen and the country today?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think it remains just as important as when the Founders wrote it. And I think we can see from a lot of recent developments, in terms of safety in our cities and around the country and even in some of the challenges that we face internationally, that the peoples right to keep and bear arms remains a cornerstone of our free society.

USRKBA: When you were the Ambassador to The United Nations you were adamantly opposed to the United States entering into any small-arms treaty. Why?

Ambassador Bolton: The hidden agenda of a lot of the people who sought to negotiate a small arms treaty really, had less to do with reducing dangers internationally and a lot more to do with creating a frame work for gun control statutes at the national level. There was very little doubt, if you looked at the non-governmental organizations that were surrounding the UN and the negotiations they were perusing, some of the language they were trying to introduce into the negotiations, that the international aspects of the whole process were much less significant, from their point of view, than trying to constrain national government. And, specifically, and most importantly, constrain the United States.

USRKBA: Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about how to make airline flights safer, by the Transportation Safety Administration. Do you believe that retired police officers and law-abiding citizens, with concealed carry permits, should be allowed to carry on airplanes?

Ambassador Bolton: I’d have to take a look at that. There are ways in which citizens can participate to help make things safer on the airlines and I think citizens would generally feel safer, for sure, if pilots, who were licensed and approved, were allowed to have firearms in the cockpit. I think a lot would depend on what our Air Marshals think and whether there would be ways to work together on that. But I think all Americans need to be thinking of creative ways to keep air travel safe and to keep travel, in other public transportation systems, busses and trains and the like, safe too.

USRKBA: Recently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives has come under fire for saying that if plastic toy guns look the same and have plastic parts that look the same as real parts in machine-guns, they should be classified as machine-guns. Given this, plus the fact that the Bureau can declare anything illegal with a simple rule change; would you be in favor of having that part of their authority stripped and any new changes, in the law, subject to the law making authority of the Congress?

Ambassador Bolton: I think what we need to focus on is real weapons not children’s toys and I think there’s been a kind of fascination with this issue over the years that have led to some pretty absurd results, even in dealing with elementary school children. I think the inclination, the bureaucratic inclination, that BATF or any other bureaucracy, is always to expand their authority and I think, really, that’s what Congress should spend more time doing, overseeing agencies like the ATF and clarifying, refining and limiting exactly what their mandates are. Congress spends a lot of time doing a lot of other things besides legislating and I’m hoping, especially when the new Congress comes into office in January that they’ll get back to their real legislative core business.

USRKBA: As you probably already know, the Federal Government has an abundance of Federal Firearms Laws and Regulations, some of the executive branch agencies, like the National Parks and Federal Cemeteries go well beyond the scope of their statutory authority. If you were President, would you support legislation to ensure that the Second Amendment Rights of all citizens are protected on Federal Property and in Federal facilities, not including the courts?

Ambassador Bolton: I think this is a very important area and we’ve seen that it is possible to carry firearms on to National Parks and other National properties and, actually the level of safety has gone up. So I think this is something that really has to have attention paid to it, the people who have tried to restrict the use of the carrying of firearms have really been perusing an agenda that hasn’t seen much review or over-sight in recent years, so I’m hoping that we can change that.

USRKBA: Do you feel that there are any new laws that we need or any laws that we need to get rid of regarding firearms?

Ambassador Bolton: Since the Supreme Court’s decision that made the absolutely critical point that the Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms is an individual right, it’s not a collective right, for purposes only of the militia, as some people argued over the years, there are a host of state and city and probably still some Federal statutes that, I think, have to be reviewed, in light of this Supreme Court decision and in light of lower court decisions. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done all around the country in that regard.

USRKBA: Would you support a national reciprocity law that would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit in one state to carry in all states?

Ambassador Bolton: I think that’s definitely something to take a look at. I think you’d find a lot of opposition to that in some jurisdictions, but it seems to me that’s the kind of approach that could be very helpful and creative people, who are used to a concealed carry regime, in the state where they live, might find themselves in trouble in another state when they really hadn’t thought that they were doing anything in violation of anybody’s laws. So I think this is worth exploring.

Update 05/11/2011:

USRKBA: With Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa conducting their respective investigations and hearings into Project Gunwalker, do you believe there should be criminal charges brought against the ATF Agents who were responsible for letting the guns enter Mexico, especially in light of the US Federal Agent who was murdered in Mexico?

Ambassador Bolton: I don’t know that there would be criminal liability. I suspect the real responsibility goes a lot higher than ATF Agents. So I think Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa are doing exactly the right thing. This looks to me like the pursuit of an ideological agenda by the Obama Administration to try and prove that the US purchased guns and are arming the drug cartels to give them a basis to try and regulate firearm ownership in the United States. I think it’s outrageous and that’s why I think these investigations are so important.

USRKBA: What about the agents who were actually responsible for actually letting the guns go across the border? Don’t they bear some criminal responsibility in the death of Agent Jaime Zapata and the wounding of Victor Avila?

Ambassador Bolton: I think you have to have an intention there, but more importantly, my guess is that the agents will show that they were merely carrying out the orders from higher up and I hope that the Congressional investigations will trace the orders. Even when gun store owners were saying ‘we’re very worried here’, the order was to continue the program and keep selling the guns. And I think that really demonstrates the ideological basis for what the Obama Administration had ordered.

USRKBA: Regarding the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA), certain states, two of them being New York and New Jersey have been ignoring this Federal Law and arresting law-abiding citizens and confiscating their firearms. Would you be in favor of criminal sanctions against jurisdictions that violate this Federal Law?

Ambassador Bolton: I think the first thing you need is adjudication on whether these various local and state statutes are pre-empted by the Federal Law. As you know, the Obama Administration is very big on pre-emption, if you look at the Arizona Statute and the litigation they brought against it. So, we need to have the pre-emption issue tested. I think the sooner that happens, the better.

USRKBA: That has been tested and FOPA does pre-empt all State and local laws. There seem to be a few bad actors who continually violate the Congressional mandate. In light of that, do you think there should be some punishment for States and localities that continue to violate the law?

Ambassador Bolton: I think one way to look at it would be a damages action against them, not only by citizens who have to go through this but also as a class action. That’s really what gets their attention.

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